A field-portable x-ray fluorescence (XRF) analyzer was developed and assembled at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna in order to permit in situ examinations in the field of archeometry. The system is based on energy-dispersive XRF using an Oxford XTF5011 50-W x-ray tube, a Röntec XFlash 1000 silicon drift detector and two lasers as locating devices. A software package based on National Instruments LabVIEW was developed for simultaneous digital control of all system components, for readout of the acquired data and for convenient presentation and preliminary analysis of the spectra. Subsequently, the measured or stored data could be analyzed using a conventional software package such as WinAxil from Canberra Eurisys. In this paper, the system's analytical capabilities are compared with the results obtained using a laboratory XRF system and a comparative evaluation of the two instruments is made. In combination with the overall miniaturization of all devices, it was possible to assemble an easily portable computer-controlled measurement system which can be used for in situ examinations and studies of, e.g., art objects in museums and galleries, ceiling frescos in churches and cathedrals and archeological findings at the excavation sites. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.